Sabarimala: Snake catchers are having a packed schedule during the pilgrimage season at hill-shrine Sabarimala as they are busy rescuing devotees from any reptile-attack.
The annual pilgrimage to Sabarimala temple, which began on November 16 this year, attracts over three million pilgrims, including foreigners, every year during the `mandala` (pilgrim) season.
Located on the slopes of Western Ghats, the shrine which is perched amidst lush forest cover is home to many wild animals, especially poisonous snakes, tuskers and leopards.
Since snakes crawling onto forest roads pose a threat to devotees trekking to the temple, the Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the shrine, has roped in a group of snake-catchers to deal with the deadly reptiles.
They are deployed at Sannidhanam and Pampa for the convenience of the devotees, TDB sources said.
Their mobile phone numbers are given to all police personnel on duty at the temple premises to contact them during emergencies, they said.
Selvan, a snake catcher, was bitten by a cobra at Sannidhanam on Saturday while attempting to throw a snake back to the forest. He was immediately rushed to Kottayam Medical College Hospital.